Appling man, 53, dies in vehicle crash

Monday, May 10, 2010 9:27 AM
Last updated 8:43 PM
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A medical emergency is believed to be the cause of a single-vehicle wreck that killed an Appling man this morning.

Willie Rane Elam, 53, of the 6300 block of Cobbham Road, wrecked his Dodge Durango at about 9 a.m. while traveling south on Ray Owens Road in Appling, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

"We believe he had a medical event before the wreck," Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison said. "He had multiple medical problems."

Elam lost control of the SUV near Retreat Court. The Durango rolled then hit two trees, Morris said. Rescue crews had to pry open the vehicle to extricate him.

Garrison said she does not suspect drugs or alcohol as a factor in the wreck. Elam's body will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of  Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta Tuesday for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

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Hatfield0278
1
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Hatfield0278 05/10/10 - 11:28 am
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My deepest sympathy goes out

My deepest sympathy goes out to the family of the deceased.

This is right in front of my friend's house and there have been numerous traffic fatalities just like this one at this location. Most of these fatalties involve excessive speed. The county has already removed several trees from the right of way. When does the Columbia County Sheriff's Office decide to put a deputy or two out there and start handing out some speeding tickets? How many more people have to die?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 05/10/10 - 11:32 am
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I hate these articles, always

I hate these articles, always waiting to see if it's someone you know.

We can hypothesize that it's not a teenager though. At 9am they should have been in school already.

Hatfield0278
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Hatfield0278 05/10/10 - 11:35 am
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Chillen - I know exactly what

Chillen - I know exactly what you mean. As soon as I read it I started thinking, "Does ________ still have a Jeep Liberty?"

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 11:39 am
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The maximun control speed in

The maximun control speed in that curve is 60 when dry and 50 when wet. I know, I have traveled that road every day for the past 33 years.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 05/10/10 - 11:39 am
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I'm with Chillen and

I'm with Chillen and Hatfield, I have family and Friends who live out there. It makes a person suck air until a name is released! My sympathies to the family.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 05/10/10 - 11:40 am
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HI George, was it on Cobham?

HI George, was it on Cobham?

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 11:42 am
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The only solution to the

The only solution to the traffic fatalities on Ray Owens is to lower the speed limit from Phinizy crossroads to Appling to 45mph and then enforce it. Ray Owens Road is the Lincolnton-Appling interstate. I have contacted my commissioner, Scott Dean, on several occasions to have the speed limit lowered. Perhaps other Appling residents will join me in sending him an email. Remember, a school teacher from Lincoln County was killed going at a high rate of school on Ray Owens. It's true that lowering the speed limit will not make people go slower like having DUI laws doesn't make people stop driving while intoxicated, but nevertheless, the speed limit must be lowered and enforced. The only speed trap I've ever seen on a regular basis is a deputy with a radar gun hanging out on Shucraft Road next to the courthouse where the speed limit is 35mph around the old courthouse. The danger is on Ray Owens not in Appling proper.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 11:45 am
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The average on that road is

The average on that road is 60. You also have those at 40 with 10 cars lined up behind them. I have seen many close accidents when some try to pass in upcoming bends. I feel 55 should be maintained for the whole road. Those that are slow and those that are fast will have or cause accidents on this road.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 11:48 am
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No Jim, the second bend just

No Jim, the second bend just pass the old JD Howell store (4 way intersection) One mile before Crawford Place Rd. I was there a few minutes after it happened.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 11:50 am
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Scott Dean's email address

Scott Dean's email address sdean@columbiacountyga.gov
Telephone # for commissioners (706) 868-3379

gutdawg
8
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gutdawg 05/10/10 - 11:57 am
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My sympathy to the deceased.

My sympathy to the deceased. This stretch of road from Appling to Leah is very dangerous. Numerous hills and turns, large old trees very near the road, and deep ditches near the road make for very treacherous driving. I only expect things will get worse when the county opens Crawford Place Rd. up at the intersection of Yelton Rd.. This intersection is on the crest of a hill and not in a very good spot. Doesn't seem very well thought out.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 11:57 am
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When I moved here in 1977,

When I moved here in 1977, you could have a flat tire and wait 30 minutes to see a car pass you. Today, at any time from the 4 way intersection outside of Appling to North Columbia Elementy School, if you have someone doing 40, you will have no less than 8 to 10 vehicles line up behind them. 45 with a 9 mile allowance should be stongly enforced.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 11:58 am
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55 is the speed limit on Ray

55 is the speed limit on Ray Owens except it is lowered to 45 around Kiokee Church. The speed limit is 45 on Old Washington Rd which has good, wide shoulders and no sharp curves. Of all county roads, Ray Owens needs a 45mph limit and it needs enforcement.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 11:59 am
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It doesn't matter if there is

It doesn't matter if there is a traffic jam with 8-10 cars lined up. The speed limit needs lowering. And, it needs enforcement for the protection of all of us who live in the area.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 12:00 pm
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You fellow Applingites -

You fellow Applingites - please email Scott Dean. Scott Dean's email address sdean@columbiacountyga.gov

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 05/10/10 - 12:01 pm
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Thanks for the info, George!

Thanks for the info, George! It's sad that people have to lose their lives because they feel like they need to be in such a hurry. People constantly are speeding to make appointments on time, or get to work before being late, and what's the price? Eternity!

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 12:04 pm
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gutdawg, you are maybe

gutdawg, you are maybe correct but it will be a heck of lot better than the existing Crawford Place Rd exit. At present, you can not see vehicles coming out of the dip prior to entering now. It is even worst when you have 2 feet of grass growing to your left. I have always told my wife to look at the top of the hill and count to 10 slowly before entering Ray Owens Road.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 12:07 pm
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email Scott Dean, what good

email Scott Dean, what good would that do?

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 12:08 pm
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The White Oak/Ray Owens

The White Oak/Ray Owens intersection is also dangerous when speeders on Ray Owens come flying up from the direction of Kiokee Church or come flying around the curve near the old J.B. Howell store.

Mudfish
0
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Mudfish 05/10/10 - 12:08 pm
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The question was raised, how

The question was raised, how many have to die? The answer is, a lot until people take responsibility for their own actions and obey the law. Lowering the speed limit will not help. If the Sheriff's Department starts enforcing the law in that one location, they will be accused of running a speed trap.
People just need to learn to slow down in bad curves and drive better.

Pastor Dan White
1
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 12:09 pm
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It would hopefully do some

It would hopefully do some good to ask him to make a motion to the commissioners to lower the speed limit to 45mph on Ray Owens and also ask that the limit be enforced.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 12:11 pm
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Mudfish - the reason for laws

Mudfish - the reason for laws is that people do not take responsibility for their actions. Thus, the government makes them responsible with fines, punishment, jail time for those who are irresponsible. Without laws to try and make people responsible, we have anarchy and turn our roads into the German autobahn which has no speed limit. I for one don't mind if Ray Owens becomes known for being a speed trap.

gutdawg
8
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gutdawg 05/10/10 - 12:11 pm
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To be honest with you George,

To be honest with you George, neither place is a good place for Crawford Place to enter Ray Owens. The solution, (costly) would be to remove some of the hills from this area. I just think that there will be many more accidents in this area once this is complete, sight and increased traffic due to the new road. I really pay attention when I drive from Phinizy to Leah. Hundred year old cedar trees blanketing the road way. They won't move if you hit them.

gutdawg
8
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gutdawg 05/10/10 - 12:15 pm
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George, Scott Dean is a

George, Scott Dean is a personal friend of mine, and I'm sure he would be glad to talk to you and other residents about the issue. As Pastor White mentioned, email him or call the CC Comissioners Office. Scott was a great mayor for Harlem and really listened to his voters.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 12:21 pm
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Disagree, 45 enforced will

Disagree, 45 enforced will cause more headon collisions then we have ever had in the past. Almost all the accidents have been one car incidents. Just wait at school drop off and pickup and see how many idiots in a line of 10 or 20 cars line up attempt to pass on this road. Instead of one car involved, you will have 2 or more. A strong 50 - 55 is a safe limit as long as your not doing you toenail or eyebrows and texing or DUI.

CobaltGeorge
164292
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CobaltGeorge 05/10/10 - 12:27 pm
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My feelings & sympathy goes

My feelings & sympathy goes out to the family of the deceased.

Makes you really think when it is close to home.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 05/10/10 - 12:42 pm
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I agree Cobalt @ 12:21. As

I agree Cobalt @ 12:21. As sad as it is, in a one vehicle accident usually it just involved the lawbreaker. As in your example many innocent law abiding citizens could be killed. I could definitely see it going that way. My deepest symapthy to the family. I too wish they would go ahead and release the name as we wait on pins and needles to hear if it may be someone we know.

Pastor Dan White
1
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 01:07 pm
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Yes, Scott Dean is a great

Yes, Scott Dean is a great Christian man and a wonderful representative. I hope the opportunities continue to open for him in the political realm.

Pastor Dan White
1
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 01:08 pm
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0
So far, the accidents on Ray

So far, the accidents on Ray Owens have been one vehicle accidents. But, that has to be providenitial that another car was not at the wrong place at the wrong time and innocent people killed or maimed.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 05/10/10 - 01:13 pm
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I can think of 4 recent

I can think of 4 recent accidents on Ray Owens which were one vehicle. A car driven by a teen with other teens in the car crashed going toward Lincolnton when the teen went around the curve too fast at Greenbrier Creek and ran off the road, over corrected and crashed with severe injuries. Another one - a motorcylist was killed near the Phinizy Crossroads going toward Lincolnton. Another - the beautiful young school teacher crashed into a pine tree (now removed) and died on her way back home to Lincolnton. And then, today's fatality. It's past time for the limit to be lowered and enforced before there is a two or more car collision with fatalities and severe injuries. 55mph is not a safe limit on Ray Owens.

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